Odisha government declares Gandhamardan Hill as biodiversity heritage site

Current Affairs

  • The Odisha government has declared the Gandhamardan Hill Range in Bargarh and Balangir district as a Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS), three decades after a highly successful people’s resistance against bauxite mining there.
  • A notification issued by the State Forest, Environment and Climate Change Department says, the government declared an area of 18,963.898 hectare of Gandhamardan Hill (Gandhamardan Reserve Forest) including 12,431.8 ha (Bargarh) and 6,532.098 ha (Balangir) as BHS of Odisha.
  • The faunal diversity comprises 500 species of animals that include 43 species of mammals, 161 species of birds, 44 species of reptiles, 16 species of amphibians, 118 species of butterflies, 27 species of dragonflies, 7 species of damselflies and 83 species of spiders.
  • With this announcement, Gandhamardan has become the 37th biodiversity heritage site of India, along with the Majuli island of Assam, Nallur Tamarind grove of Bangalore, Khlaw Kur Syiem KmieIng sacred grove of Meghalaya and Naro Hills of Madhya Pradesh.
  • The Mandasaru gorge in Kandhamal district was notified as the first such site in Odisha in 2019, followed by Mahendragiri hills in 2022.

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